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Flood cleanup: prevent illness and injury





SOUTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
CONTACT: Bill Chalcraft, (605) 773-3361          
 
Flood cleanup: prevent illness and injury
 
PIERRE, S.D. –   The South Dakota Department of Health reminds homeowners to reduce the risk of disease and injury from flood cleanup by following these personal precautions:
  • Wear hard-soled shoes, long-sleeved shirts, long pants and heavy work gloves.
  • Scrub walls, hard-surfaced floors, counter tops, pantry shelves, etc. with warm soapy water, then sanitize with a solution of 1 cup of bleach to 5 gallons of water.
  • To clean actual mold growth from hard surfaces such as floors or countertops, wash with a solution of 1 cup bleach to 1 gallon water, rinse with clean water and allow to air dry. Ventilate the area while using any cleaning products.
  • Remove and throw away any insulating material that has been saturated with flood waters.
  • If there has been sewage backflow into the house, remove and throw out wall coverings, cloth, rugs, sheetrock and other absorbent materials. Wear rubber boots and waterproof gloves during the cleanup. Clean and mop the area, treat with disinfectant and dehumidify.
  • Do not use gas- or diesel-powered pumps, generators, or pressure washers inside as they release carbon monoxide, a deadly but colorless and odorless gas. It is virtually impossible to assure adequate ventilation.
  • Clean minor wounds thoroughly with soap and water, cover and keep them dry while working on cleanup. If you need a tetanus shot, see your doctor. Wash hands often with soap and water.
  • Set priorities for cleanup tasks and pace the work out over days or even weeks. Get plenty of rest and take frequent rest breaks before exhaustion builds up.
While it is always a good idea to make sure immunizations are up to date, there are no special recommendations for tetanus immunizations during flood situations. Adults should have a tetanus booster shot every 10 years.
Learn more about flood cleanup at doh.sd.gov/flood/.
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